Bangalore, June 2 (UNI) More than 70 spiritual leaders from across the country were roped in to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS, thanks to UNAIDS Control Programme and Art of Living Foundation, which is organising a conference on 'Faith in Action.' The conference was aimed at involving the spiritual leaders, including religious leaders, seers and saints, in creating awareness about HIV/AIDS and its impact on the society among their followers and the public in general.
Speaking at the conference, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar said the problem of HIV/AIDS could only be fought with united efforts of religious leaders.
''Saints from all over the country, having completely different ideologies and mindsets, have all come together for a single purpose --to see a healthy society, AIDS free society. In this sense, the conference is very significant,'' added.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) International Vice-President Praveen Togadia said the problem should be taken into consideration on a priority basis. ''We have to accept that there is a problem of AIDS in India. We should not negate it more. If we accept this problem, it is the responsibility of every individual and organisation leader to solve the problem.'' UNAIDS Country-Director Denis Brown pointed out that since the religious leaders have noteworthy influence on commonman, their active participation would have more impact on the battle against AIDS.
''It is extremely significant. It is very important, it is a moment when people who have most influence on the behaviour of common man, are coming together to understand what AIDS is about and to come forward with a programme to reduce materialism and to promote healthy behavior. It is going to have a major impact on the epidemic in India,'' he said.
An estimated 2.47 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in India. Yet, over 40 per cent of all Indian women have not heard of AIDS, he added.
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